MARK MARTIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT PUSHING THE CURRENT RULES AND RULES FOR THE UPCOMING CAR OF TOMORROW ON NASCAR CONSISTENCY WITH PENALTIES: "If they continue to do what they are doing, they will...
MARK MARTIN, DRIVER OF THE NO. 01 U.S. ARMY MONTE CARLO SS, TALKED WITH MEDIA ABOUT PUSHING THE CURRENT RULES AND RULES FOR THE UPCOMING CAR OF TOMORROW
ON NASCAR CONSISTENCY WITH PENALTIES: "If they continue to do what they are doing, they will be consistent. "
ON THE NEW RIGHT SIDE TIRE: "It is not that difficult. It is more of a challenge to get your car handling properly, but racing is challenging. "
ON HOW CAR IS RUNNING AND HANDLING: "We are going to use the about 2 hours we have left of practice before the Daytona 500 to see if we can make any improvement on our U.S. Army Chevy."
ON THERE BEING MORE TEMPTATION TO PUSH RULES HERE THAN OTHER PLACES: "There are 61 cars that NASCAR felt it necessary to make it fair. There are a lot of cars that went home before this race. They have busted people for things they haven't really looked at before. Certainly people are getting the message that the rules are going to be strictly enforced. With that many cars, it is for good reason."
ON CONSIDERING DOING MORE RACES WHEN BRISTOL GETS HERE: "Why do ya'all keep saying that? (LAUGHS) I don't know, Matt Kenseth has $200 on it. We will see if he wins it or not. (LAUGHS) I have a plan that I am very happy with. If I wanted to run the full season, I certainly could. I don't want to, I haven't asked to, if fact I said no to that over and over again. Let's just not worry about whether or not I am fifth in the points going in to Bristol, and just let me do what I want to do, and that is what I have on the schedule. I just don't see any need to be worried about the what ifs."
ON HOW HARD IT WILL BE NOT TO PULL IN THE NO. 6 PITS DURING THE RACE: "I hope it's not hard. If it is, I am in trouble. I don't know, I have had people around me speculate that I would do that. I don't know if I will or not. I have run two races so far and that car wasn't in those races. I knew where my pit was; I found my pit board ok. At the same time, I was in the 6 car for 19 years. But I have drove a lot of other things too. I have drove 60, I have drove the No. 9 and some other things. Obviously considering that the colors haven't changed much if at all from when I drove the car, there is a chance. I have done a lot more dumber things than that."
ON WHAT MAKES PEOPLE BEND THE RULES: "I think most of the infractions that have been caught this week that are in things that have been commonly done in the past. It is competition and people pushing the limits. It is Daytona. Whether or not it gives you an advantage or not, it makes you think you are trying harder if you do that. A lot of the things that have come down this week are over things that probably give them a performance advantage that their intent was to do. I know for a fact, a lot of the things won't make the car run faster, but that was the intent. It made it bad because it was to gain an advantage even though it probably wasn't going to give them an advantage."
ON HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH CREW CHIEF ON THIS ISSUE: "No Ryan (Pemberton) is more conservative than some of the other crew chiefs I have worked with in the past. I think we are good there. Ryan seems to be more conservative."
ON WHAT IS BEING SAID IN THE GARAGE: "I don't think anything out of the ordinary whatsoever has happened so far. All the things that have happened are things that have been done in the past. The message from NASCAR is clear 'We are tightening up guys'. I applaud NASCAR for that cause I don't think 25 points got anybody's attention. People hated to lose them but stepping it up will get their attention. There is no amount of money that will get their attention because there is so much at stake in this business. When you starting taking 50 points, that really takes their attention. A 100 points sent the message home."
ON NASCAR ENTERING DIFFICULT WATERS TRYING TO DEFINE INTENT: "Always in the past, it didn't matter if it was intentional or not. That is the unfortunate thing, we have had lower quality springs in the past that some would not hold their free height where your cars would be low after the race with no intent. You still go penalized even though you didn't intend for that to happen. I think the penalty is always going to be there, whether it was meant to happen or not. But, if you meant to cheat the competition, I think the penalty should be worse than if you cheated the competition by accident."
ON NASCAR TIGHTENING UP IN PREPARATION OF CAR OF TOMORROW DEBUT: "I am not sure. I think one of things was there 61 cars for the Daytona 500. I think that is part of it. Certainly, the rules for the COT and the way that car is, it tightens the box up like I have never seen. It is incredible how the box has tightened there. Because the box is tightened, it is like a handful of spaghetti. I think they may be sending a message 'Hey, everything we lay out, you are going to have to follow and if you don't follow it, shame on you. You are going to get caught'. All these things are small things. I am unaware of the Michael Waltrip issue, I don't really know anything about that. But I will bet you anything in the world, whatever performance improvement that would have been gained by whatever might have been done there still would have been small. Like I say, the things that have happened here this week with the Evernham cars and the No. 17 car, are things that have been done forever, that's not knew. I am pretty sure that I know what they did on the 17 car and I am pretty sure there was no advantage by it but they were sure trying hard. You know what I mean, that is what racers do. So many of these things, you are just trying so hard. I think that this week will go a long way in corraling up those things. I think it is good. Certainly, I don't think the teams are going to want to lose 50 points and darn sure not 100. When you have the competition that we have today, people just need to be playing it straight. Racers is so different today because there really are no gray areas. It used to be so much more fun, you used to be able to be creative and bring things to table if you were smart and creative. There are just hardly any areas to work anymore. For me, I am not even smart, and I used to be able to bring things to the table. Man, you could put the world on pause and 10 years I still won't come up with anything.& nbsp; The box is really tight today. It is a different world."
ON TAKING THE FUN OUT OF IT: "It takes it out for me but doesn't necessarily take it out for someone who doesn't know any different. Regan Smith, I don't know, not very long ago. I don't even know what year, maybe 1984 or something like that. That is just wrong (LAUGHS). But, he just doesn't know the difference. A lot of these guys they just don't know the difference. So I am not going to sit here and say it takes all the fun out of it. When I was coming along, I heard those old guys yapping about how good the good old days were. How wrong the kids were and all that stuff. I don't want to be one of those guys, because when they were saying it, it wasn't very attractive to me. I didn't care much for all that and I am not going to stand around saying all that now. I don't want to be a naysayer like that, sort of the old timers syndrome. I don't want to sign up for that. It is different and yes, it has taken the fun out of it for me because I don't feel like I have a way to contribute anymore. When we first started Roush Racing, I felt like I could pay attention, be a part of the team and thought of things we could do that gave us advantages. We saw and felt that advantage, and that was a blast for it, it was fun. I feel that window is a lot smaller now, it is a lot, lot smaller. But for guys coming along that don't know, they are just thrilled to be here and be doing this.
ON MORE TALENTED YOUNGER DRIVERS IN THE MARKET NOW: "Yes, ok and here is why. There has always been that talent but it wasn't in NASCAR because there was no room for it, no one interested in it. But it was still out there not given the opportunity that is obviously being given today that Jeff Gordon brought here and then grow - the sponsorship, the money, the backing and all that. If you were Regan then, you were lucky if you were driving a dirt track car, and winning races. If you were doing that and did that for another five years, you might get luck and be given an opportunity to drive a back marker car here for another five to six years. And if you made that back marker car run better than everybody thought it should, then you might get a chance when one of the old guys retired, to move up to a good enough car that you might be able to win in. That is how it used to be, it is different now."
ON THOUGHTS OF IT THERE WILL BE MORE INFRACTIONS FOUND: "I think you will continue to see some more infractions pop up because they are cracking tighter. Certainly there will be less intentional and more accidental infractions and there are accidental infractions believe me. Things happen. The quality of springs are better today but there is a thing out there that isn't right they have got to fix. These guys are building these cars that when you hit them in the back, it bends the frame down and takes the quarters down. Then you are that much low after the race. And they say well we got hit in the back, well that is bull. That is not right and I know that happened yesterday. Same deal as Jeff Gordon except his deal was different, his frame wasn't bent, it was another thing, it was another thing, but if your frame is bent, then what are you supposed to do. That is what the teams say, what are you supposed to do. Well if you are smart, you make you car so it bends and you get your teammate to run into. We bump draft out there right. That is the next thing that has to be fixed on this deal. It is not fair for somebody to race with the quarter panels an inch low. And if you are smart and agressive and they are, it has happened already and it will happen in the 500. I am not going to say nothing to NASCAR, they ought to know what is going on. They measure the cars, they ought to see it. They should have known about this a long time before I do. I heard about it after the two Talladega races last year. This has been going on and if you are smart, and you are agressive and build a frame where it will bend easy and have your buddy hit ya. Boom, you now have a giant, I am talking about a giant, advantage if you can get it down an inch.
ON NASCAR AND FANS READINESS FOR INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: "I think so. I don't feel awkward or uncomfortable. I think Juan Pablo Montoya is one of the greatest things that has happened to NASCAR in my time. He is a world-class champion driver that is coming in here and really make his mark. That is huge for us. That makes everyone of us drivers more recognized for what we have done and our successes. It is great.
ON THE FOREIGN MANUFACTURER COMING IN: "I'm not as comfortable with that one but I'm not against it. Yeah, those words you used to explain, I'll try not to use them. I am one of those traditionalists. I'm not the most comfortable with that but let me tell you what the other side of the coin is. That's creating jobs and giving opportunity to young people who want to be in this sport to do and realizes their dreams. It will open up jobs and opportunities and it will also force the other manufacturers to step up their game which can only be good for the successful individuals in this sport. There are two sides. I'm riding the fence on it. I'm not on either side but I did want to point out, not only put out the negatives because there are positives to it that I named."
ANY SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCES WITH DRAFTING NOW THAT YOU ARE WITH A NEW MANUFACTURER: "I feel good about our car. I've been blessed with great cars and great engines over the past few years. Certainly stepping into Hendrick power and the Monte Carlo has not been a dramatic change based on the great stuff that I've been in the last few years. I do feel really good about the power that I have here and the speed that we have in our car. We just still need to get our arms around the handling just a little bit better to be able to reach its full potential. I feel that my car has the potential to be a contender to win this race but we don't have that harnessed yet and we only have two and half hours left. We're going to work on that but the potential is there. We just haven't got our arms around it yet."
HOW COMPETITIVE CAN YOU BE WITH THIS TEAM THIS YEAR?: "I think that we can have some flashes of brilliance. I don't think that we can post the kind of consistent level that we all are working toward. I think that this is a long term commitment from Bobby (Ginn) and all the guys here. They finally have the tools that they need to build a team that can be a contender, I mean a heavy hitter kind of contender in this business. That's comforting to me because number one, it's a great challenge and number two, I feel that they have a use for me and need me here for a long time because we know it's going to take a long time. It makes me feel good to be needed. It makes me feel really good to be a part of it so I'm real excited about that. We're all hopeful that we can have our flashes of brilliance but we also realize that we are not yet on the level of Hendrick or Gibbs or Childress at this time."
WITH ALL THE SCRUTINY ON THE CUP CARS, HOW DO YOU THINK THIS HAS AFFECTED THE BUSCH RACE? WILL THEY BE MORE CAREFUL? "Boy, I couldn't answer that question. I am so busy over here that I barely get there and I dodge straight in the car. I don't know what's going on down there. I never even hardly saw my crew before I jumped in to go out and practice."
HOW HARD DOES THAT MAKE IT TO COMPETE? "It is. I am definitely not involved and immersed in that program. I'm piling up in their car and whatever they are giving me is what is and that's it. My real focus here has been the Daytona 500 and the U.S. Army Chevy."
HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR CAR? "I like my car. My car has the potential in it to be a contender to win. We don't have that furnished yet. Our car is good. It has great potential."
-credit: gm racing